Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy EwingISBN: 0062235796
Book Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Book Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Synopsis:The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
This book is about Violet, starting off with her last day bearing that name as she turns to toll #197 and from there to 'the surrogate'. In this highly oppressive dystopian world, girls from the Marsh are tested once they hit puberty if they have the surrogate gene, if they do, they're taken away to special facilities where they're under lock, trained, and in a way tortured into being perfect enough for the people bidding on them. They get luxuries they wouldn't have even dreamed of in the poor side of the Marsh and for that they're expected to be grateful, even though they get no choice to be a part of this life, they're basically slaves, bought and provided for until they bear a child then discarded without the ability of ever bearing other children, getting married of having any form of freedom. When the auction is over and Violet moves into her new residence, she learns that there is so much about the surrogacy life they weren't told at the Southgate facility and that terrifies her more than anything, especially as she bears witness to the horrific things happening around her, and her fear of her life as well as her friend who seems to be having drastic changes done to her.
I can't believe how screwed up this world is, then again I guess I should have expected it from a dystopian novel, but it's still very irksome. I don't want to say more on the book because honestly the best part about it is the not knowing in advance much to go with it.
The powers the surrogates have with the auguries gave me a little Crewel by Ginnifer Albin feel, though they were by no means the same, the similarity lay in the women having a special power that presented itself in only specific cases and there was a level of talent and high expectations coming out of their ranking. Of course here, the ranking led to being auctioned off to the highest bidder, and had more importance in an inspired sort of way. In Crewel the talent was changing time and playing with the fabric of reality, in Jewel, the talent lay in the manipulation of objects as well as living beings.
I think a large part of what makes a story successful is how much of it you can predict in advance. If you see a lot of it coming, it becomes kind of dull even if you like the writing or there are some minor twists that you hadn't anticipated. But in the grand scheme of things? Yeah, it would be kind of disappointing. Which is why, I can safely say this was definitely one successful storyline in which I couldn't predict a damn thing. Okay one tiny insignificant part, but otherwise all my predictions were absolutely wrong and I legitimately have no clue whatsoever where the author is going with this story and I find that surprisingly refreshing. I needed this, and I just can't wait for the next installment, I seriously hope it measures up to this one and by the end of the series I'm equally enamored and flabbergasted as I am right now!
The book left off on the worst possible cliffhanger and I'm just a ball of nerves right now unbelievably excited and agitated to know what happens next, especially with the interesting surprise that popped up at the end. I mean, I suspected something was off with one of the characters, but seriously didn't see the ending coming. It helps that the writing is absolutely incredible and the book is just so well written and the characters quite developed with rich background stories. I think the dystopian world was fairly explained and well planned out. Can't wait for more from this world!